Brilliant Buckingham fight back to stun Reading

Picture by Jake McNulty
Picture by Jake McNulty

A stirring second half fightback saw Buckingham come from 27-8 down to level the scores at 27-27 with minutes to spare and gain three valuable points against Reading.

It was the second 27-27 draw in a month for Buckingham and only the third time this season they have avoided defeat, but, despite their late heroics, they remain second from bottom in South West One East.

Reading started strongly and, worryingly for the visitors, the home backs looked sharp in the early exchanges.

Missing inspirational skipper Phil Wright through injury, Buckingham struggled in defence and after conceding five penalties in open play, Reading seized the initiative and their backs swept through the Buckingham midfield to score after 10 minutes.

Worse was to follow when a Buckingham player was sin-binned and from the resultant penalty, Reading drove down field and, aided by yet another penalty, their pack rumbled over for the second try with less than 20 minutes played.

Some aimless kicking and poor passing by the visitors led to Reading’s third try as Buckingham struggled to get out of their own half.

However, with their first real period of possession, Buckingham put their first points on the board when Lawrence Brown touched down, only for Reading to immediately hit back with a fourth try.

Jak Cluness, having his best game at inside centre, was causing problems with his powerful running and Reading were penalised for attempting to keep him at bay. Calum Gillie stepped up to kick the penalty on the stroke of half-time and bring the visitors to within 12 at 20-8.

Again Reading came out the stronger side after the restart and they were threatening to run away with the game when a fifth try put them into a seemingly unassailable 27-8 lead.

However, the game then took an unexpected twist as Buckingham finally managed to get their hands on the ball and proceeded to use it profitably.

After missing a kickable penalty, they kicked another to the corner where the forwards gathered the ball from a line-out and surged over, Harry Scarr the scorer.

Gillie’s excellent conversion from out wide lifted the visitors further and Reading began to look vulnerable with a forward yellow carded.

It was all Buckingham now and a scrum close to the Reading line had the home side backpedalling and Gillie nipped over for the third try after 25 minutes.

At last the visitors began to use the ball out wide and a move involving Cluness, Lee and Graham almost resulted in another score before Reading, under pressure, received their second yellow card and from the penalty, Buckingham nearly scored again.

They were not to be denied, however, and from a scrum the ball was moved swiftly along the backs to Josh Graham, who chipped neatly over the defence and set off on what should have been a scoring run, only to have it cut short by the outstretched arm of a defender.

However, the resulting penalty try and conversion by Gillie earned Buckingham an unlikely draw in the final seconds of the game.

This week, Buckingham entertain high-flying Swindon.